Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Resistance is Futile

Most people don't like change because they don't like being changed. When change comes into view, fear and resistance to change follow – often despite its obvious benefits. People fight against change because they don't understand the change and its implications or they find it difficult to cope with either the level or pace.

If you think that you can stop change, you’re fooling yourself. You may as well try standing in the path of a hurricane to make it change its course (no thanks). The sooner you realize that the world – yes, even your world – will change whether you like it or not, the better. Then you can concentrate your efforts on taking actions that make a positive difference in your organization. You must discover how to adapt to change and use it to your advantage rather than fight it.

Face it – it’s going to happen. I’ve never worked in any organization that didn’t’ have change. It’s a requirement for improvement. Remember that favorite saying, “We’ve always done it this way.”? Argghh. Take that statement out of your vocabulary and from everyone in the organization!

Instead of reacting to changes after the fact, you need to proactively anticipate the changes that are coming your way and make plans to address them BEFORE they hit you. Ignoring the need to change doesn’t make that need go away. The best leaders are positive and forward looking, AND they also communicate.

Leaders armed with a complete understanding of the need for change and knowing the type of change required can best communicate with employees. Open discussion of change is the best tool in reducing the resistance to change. Get employees on board by projecting positive and strong discussions. Show the fiercest resisters what’s in it for them. Appeal to them either in terms of personal gain (status, salary bonus, recognition, etc) or avoided loss (financial or job).
Rumors, if allowed to run rampant, are extremely harmful. Keep everyone updated on the most recent decisions. This will make employees feel that they’re a part of the process. With healthy communication, employees are more apt to remain with the company - and often develop an even deeper bond during a time of change. That’s exactly what you need.

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